CINCINNATI - The sub-contractors who worked on the barely half-finished Kenwood Towne Place project along Interstate 71 will try and have their day in court against the developer and other affiliated parties four years after work stopped on the project.
"Our clients were left holding the bag," said Patrick O'Neill, attorney with Benjamin, Yocum and Heather. He represents 15 sub-contractors known as the Kraft group.
"The further the project got along, the further behind the general contractor and the owner got in payments to their sub-contractors," O'Neill said. "So when the project ground to a halt in December of 2008, there was a number of subcontractors including our 15 clients who did not get paid on the project."
A Hamilton County judge was scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday about whether or not the civil trial against Kenwood Towne Place developer Matt Daniels and others should be held or delayed. The hearing was delayed until at least next week.
Daniels filed a motion requesting a stay until his criminal charges are handled.
"Mr. Daniels is respectful of the plaintiffs desire to have their day in court but he does not want to prejudice his ability to have a fair trial in the criminal case. That's why he's asking for this to be postponed," said Attorney Ben Dusing with Adams, Stepner, Woltermann & Dusing.
In a federal indictment filed in November 2012, prosecutors alleged Daniels received $100 million in loans from Bank of America and laundered the money for himself and other business entities.
"He has maintained that he is not guilty of the charges and last week pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in the criminal case," Dusing said.
O'Neill said his clients are seeking $23 million in compensatory and punitive damages plus attorney fees.
"A number of our clients basically did have to suspend operations for a while, the smaller ones. The larger clients couldn't get bonds on other projects because of not getting paid on this project so it had a profound impact not just for this project alone but for a number of other items," O'Neill said.
A Blue Ash firm, Phillips Edison & Company, has since bought the unfinished tower and there are plans in the works to compete construction.